NBA Notes: Nets, Celts reportedly pull off blockbuster

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NBA Notes: Nets, Celts reportedly pull off blockbuster

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets and Celtics have agreed to a blockbuster deal that sends Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn.

Jason Terry will also head from the Celtics to the Nets in the trade.

Wojnarowski reports that the package moving from Brooklyn to Boston contains Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, Reggie Evans and three first-round picks (2014, 2016 and 2018). The Nets will also do a sign-and-trade involving guard Keith Bogans.

Garnett waived his no-trade clause to get the deal completed.

The trade can not become official until July 10, when the league's salary cap is set for next season.

Looking to start from scratch, the Celtics will benefit from obtaining three future first-round picks. The Nets, under the ownership of Mikhail Prokhorov, have looked to make flashy moves, and acquiring Garnett, Pierce and Terry certainly falls under that banner. 

Lakers: Howard unlikely to return to L.A.
Despite the Lakers' pleas to keep Dwight Howard with giant signs outside Staples Center, it appears as if the enigmatic center may not be keen on returning.

Howard, who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, is leaning towards bolting from Los Angeles, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

Broussard reported Thursday that the Lakers have little chance of re-signing Howard, primarily due to his frustration with Mike D'Antoni's system.  Broussard also reports that Houston and Dallas remain the favorites for Howard's services next season.

Howard played 76 games this season for the Lakers, averaging 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds in 35.8 minutes per game. The Lakers acquired the seven-time All-Star in a four-team deal last offseason involving the Denver Nuggets, Sixers, and Orlando Magic. 

Despite the hype that surrounded Howard's arrival in L.A., the Lakers went 45-37 and were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs.

Blazers: Aldridge reportedly wants out
According to Jason Quick of the Oregonian (via ProBasketball Talk), LaMarcus Aldridge wants out of Portland because it's too small and too boring.

While Quick says he believes Portland GM Neil Olshey doesn't want to move the power forward, there remains a belief that Olshey is in a precarious situation with the potential of Aldridge walking in the summer of 2015.

Aldridge averaged 21.1 points and 9.1 rebounds last season in 37.7 minutes per game. But despite his success, Portland still missed the playoffs falling 12 games back of the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets.

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”

Best of NBA: Cavs snap skid; another triple-double for Westbrook

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Best of NBA: Cavs snap skid; another triple-double for Westbrook

TORONTO -- LeBron James scored 34 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame an injury to J.R. Smith to snap their three-game losing streak with a 116-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.

Smith injured his left knee in the first quarter after landing on a jump shot and hobbled to the dressing room in considerable pain. He did not return, and the Cavaliers said X-rays taken at the arena were negative and that the guard would return to Cleveland on Tuesday for further examination.

DeMar DeRozan had 31 points and Kyle Lowry added 24 for Toronto, which had its six-game winning streak snapped.

The win was the Cavaliers' third straight this season against the Raptors, the team they beat in last season's Eastern Conference finals. It also prevented Toronto from leapfrogging Cleveland into first place in the conference (see full recap).

Another triple-double for Westbrook in OKC win
ATLANTA -- Russell Westbrook extended his streak of triple-doubles to six games, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 102-99 victory over the skidding Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

Westbrook scored 32 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and doled out 12 assists, carrying on the NBA's longest run of triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven in a row in 1989.

Westbrook has sparked a six-game winning streak by the Thunder. He's now reached double figures in all three categories in half of the Thunder's 22 games.

By contrast, Jordan had 15 triple-doubles for the entire 1988-89 season.

Despite benching Kyle Korver and benefiting from return of Paul Millsap, the Hawks lost their seventh straight game.

They've dropped 10 of 11 overall (see full recap).

Harden, Rockets hang on to beat Celtics
HOUSTON -- James Harden scored 37 points and Al Horford missed a shot just before the buzzer to allow the Houston Rockets to hold on for a 107-106 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

The game was tied before Harden scored five straight points to make it 107-102 with less than a minute remaining. Avery Bradley made a jump shot and Harden received a flagrant 1 foul for elbowing Marcus Smart in the face. Smart made both free throws before Isaiah Thomas missed a layup.

But Houston knocked the ball out of bounds with 5.2 seconds left, giving Boston one last chance. Horford drove into the lane, but his shot rolled off the rim and Harden grabbed it to secure the victory.

Horford had 21 points and Thomas added 20 for the Celtics, who had won two straight (see full recap).